Sjow’s Rank 1 Control Warrior Guide: Part 2 – Mulligans and Matchups.

DarkFrost here and today I’ll be showcasing Part 2 to Sjow’s Control Warrior deck that he used to get to Rank 1 Legend past season.


This is the second part of the guide for Sjow’s Control Warrior, I will be explaining the matchups and mulligans in this section. So let’s get started! View Part 1 here.

Mulligan Guide

General Mulligans:

  • armorsmith
  • fiery-war-axe
  • acolyte-of-pain
  • deaths-bite

Matchup Specific:


  • big-game-hunter
  • shield-slam
  • execute
  • shield-block if you have a shield-slam already


  • fiery-war-axe is the utmost priority mulligan anything and everything to get one.
  • cruel-taskmaster
  • armorsmith
  • cleave

Popular Matchups Guide


Important Cards: big-game-hunter, shield-slam, execute, sylvanas-windrunner, the-black-knight, brawl and grommash-hellscream.

Cards to be wary of: shadowflame, lord-jaraxxus, alexstrasza.

This matchup is highly dependent on whether or not you can answer the early giants, which you usually will be able to because of big-game-hunter and sometimes shield-slam. You have to remember the handlock has six active threats: mountain-giantx2 molten-giantx2 and twilight-drakex2 and you have 4 direct answers: shield-slamx2 and executex2 and 3 indirect/situational answers: sylvanas-windrunner, the-black-knight and brawl.

Save your burst (grommash-hellscream+cruel-taskmaster) and don’t put them in double moltens + taunt range.

When you have shield slam in hand and you are going second, it is sometimes right to coin out the hero power to gain the 2 armor, remember, it is better to hero power than to play that turn 2 armorsmith if you have a shield slam.

Ideally you want to: Shield slam the giants, execute the drakes and brawl the moltens.


Important cards: cairne-bloodhoof, ysera, faceless-manipulator.

Cards to be wary of: northshire-cleric, cabal-shadow-priest, shadow-word-death, mind-control.

It’s all about the lategame and fatigue wars(most of the time). You need to bait that one copy of mind-control before you play ysera and you will win. Try not to play acolytes post turn 6 if you cannot draw a card off of them. Prioritize killing the cleric over everything in the early game, it’s not that big a threat in lategame as you do not wanna draw cards then.

Don’t let the priest gain board control and it will be an easy match. Because their hero power sucks if they don’t have a board. It is important to gain value off of your low attack minions in the early game to play around cabal-shadow-priest. If you no its turn six for priest next turn and you have an acolyte or Armorsmith just suicide it, because if you do so the priest is going to have 2 dead cards in his deck all along. Be as greedy as you can with brawl, They will lose even if they don’t have cards. Priest is really fragile if their clerics don’t draw and they don’t get a board.


Important: fiery-war-axe, deaths-bite, brawl, cleave.

Cards to be wary of: hex, earth-shock,

I wouldn’t say that this matchup is favored but it isn’t bad either. In this matchup it is important that you get a totem slayer early on to keep the totem count under control. You have really efficient answers for the shamans early game in the form of you weapons such as fiery-war-axe and deaths-bite. It is also important to be greedy with your brawl because you only run one copy of it.

Remember when playing cards like cairne-bloodhoof or sylvanas-windrunner, ask yourself can you afford to lose the tempo if they get hexed? If you cannot then just don’t play them. It is important to not lose board against a shaman. Play out your minions but don’t overextend into a lightning-storm.

Usually if the shaman does not have an answer for your cards, It will be an easy game. But remember, before playing a 5+ mana cost minion, ask yourself whether or not you can afford to get it hexed? Because playing a Cairne when opponent shaman has a board and it getting hexed is just asking for trouble.


Important: shield-block, armorsmith, brawl, loatheb, ragnaros-the-firelord

Cards to be wary of: Fireball, Pyroblast, Alexstrasza, archmage-antonidas and all their Secrets.

Warrior vs Mage is one of the most one-sided matchups in hearthstone. The mage is just so heavily disfavored that most mage players just concede right away when they see a warrior. Just the sheer amount of life gain a warrior can get makes it near impossible for freeze mages to burst down a warrior. As for aggro mages, they can have a lot of early game aggression with undertakers and leper-gnomes, but it is easily neutered by the armor you will gain over time which will put you out of burst range.

Aggro: It is important to play around mirror-entity and get maximum value out of your armorsmiths. You have to stay out of the burst range of mages at all times. If you get your weapons early on it will be really difficult for the mage to deal a huge amount of damage to you. Because they will usually be out of cards. The most important cards in this matchup will be your weapons and armorsmiths and your taunt minions.

Freeze: Sit back. Relax, and Armor Up! Keep pressing that button and the mage is gonna run out of burn in no time. A freeze mage wants to stall the game and draw a bunch of cards, alexstrasza your face and just burn you down with the damage spells that they have. But as a warrior your hero power itself counters this deck. As alexstrasza does not affect armor. The reason why you always value armor over your HP in matchups (also shield-slam).It is correct to faceless an armorsmith in this matchup and your goal is to gain as much armor as possible while developing the board. The will eventually run out of stall and will not be able to kill you in time.


Important: armorsmith, shield-block, sludge-belcher, senjin-shieldmasta, cleave and your weapons.

Cards to be wary of: undertaker, freezing-trap, savannah-highmane

This matchup is about four things:

  • Undertaker
  • Savannah-Highmane
  • Freezing-Trap
  • Card advantage

Undertaker: This guy is what has kept aggro hunter viable post buzzard Nerf. The card is insane and to be honest it is broken. The ability of this card to snowball games is what makes it dangerous. When you go up against a hunter it is important to have an  answer to an undertaker, the massive number of low-cost deathrattle creatures in the aggro hunter decks makes this card really dangerous if kept alive. However axe it early and the hunter is gonna have a tough time.

Savannah Highmane: This card is really tough to deal with as a warrior. The 2/2’s summoned by this guy are a real pain to deal with. You have to be ready with an answer for Highmane on turn six, if you do have one the hunter will have a tough time. Suitable answers for a Highmane are: sylvanas-windrunner, deaths-bite, shield-slam, execute and cleave.

Freezing Trap: NEVER let a 4+ cost minion get freezing trapped, you need to play around it as efficiently as you can. Try not to give the hunter tempo with a freezing trap. getting back an Armorsmith is the best outcome for you. This card is really hard to deal with as a warrior find the right time to pop it and you will be fine.

Card Advantage: The buzzard nerf meant that the card draw for hunters has been weakened. Meaning that if they get behind on cards, it is going to be an easy task beating them. They really struggle with their card draw and rely on loot hoarders. Try to gain card advantage through you weapons and you will be fine.

Note: Do not give them bow charges, try to bait out the last charge before you proc their trap.

Try to gain maximum value off of your armorsmiths.


Important: fiery-war-axe, deaths-bite, armorsmith, cruel-taskmaster, sludge-belcher and senjin-shieldmasta.

Cards to be wary of: nerubian-egg

The zoo matchup is entirely dependent on whether or not you can get early board presence, an ideal start would be Armorsmith, Acolyte and Cruel Taskmaster along with a Fiery war axe. If you get that Fiery war axe the game gets a lot easier for you. The biggest problem for you in zoo are the deathrattle creatures specially the egg. Save your Shield blocks for Shield Slams in this matchup. If the game goes to the late game you are going to win, so focus on gaining a lot of health and surviving through the early to mid game.

Use removal to gain tempo the best removal for this would be a shield slam in this matchup, a shield block into shield slam is really bad for the zoo player. You need to save your Death’s Bite for the optimal time to take advantage of the whirlwind effect. Cleave is also a great card in this matchup.

Playing the deck

Playing control warrior needs a lot of decision-making. What removal is suited best for the situation is something you should be aware of, here I will list on how to use your removal in specific scenarios:

Weapon Based Removal

To be used liberally when you have a lot of health and can afford to use it as a resource in the matchup. In the early game this is the best kind of removal although as you move to the later stages health becomes a more valuable resource and you might wanna consider using spell based removal. You goal is to not die, in control matchups weapon based removal is excellent throughout the game however in midrange and aggro matchups it is only good in the early to half mid game.

Weapons in the deck:

Fiery-war-axe: Fiery war axe is best used in the early game. Always try mulliganing to get one. It is amazing to control your opponent’s early game with this card. Killing of a 2/3 undertaker with the axe and getting to kill the other minion that buffed it is great value for Fiery war axe. This card will always net you early game card advantage by going 2 for 1. Don’t be scared of losing health, it is all right as you are effectively trading health for cards early on when the health doesn’t really matter.

Deaths-bite: The card is tricky to use, it needs to be timed correctly. Do not just damage your Armorsmith to gain 1 armor, it is not enough value, you need to be greedy with Armorsmith. Sometimes you have a really good target at 5 health to kill with your Death’s Bite but you also have an Acolyte and an Armorsmith you can’t play yet but you can next turn. So if the situation allow you then try to save that whirlwind, remember you only have two in your deck.

Spell Based Removal

When you are low on health prioritize spell based removal or when you cannot use weapon based removal. You have a total of 5 Spells that can remove a card off the board. 4 of which are direct removal and 1 Board wipe. So when to use what?

Execute: The card serves different purposes in different matchups. In control matchups you will save this card for a known big threat. In Midrange matchups you want to use execute to gain tempo and in aggro matchups it is really difficult to use this card, as the opponent wont be running high health minions.

Shield-slam: Save your shield blocks for a shield slam in aggro matchups. Using shield slam is tricky. You need to asses the amount of armor that you are going to be able to maintain as long as you have a shield slam in hand. If you have a weapon equipped it is gonna go down soon. If you have taunts up it is gonna go up. If it’s a control match, you can stack a lot of it, if it is a midrange matchup you might get a few turns with armor and a few turns with none. And as for aggro, you are rarely gonna have armor. So when to use your shield slam. If it is doing 4 damage or more use in midrange and aggro matchups. In control matchups save your shield slams for big threats.Remember you can also shield slam your sylvanas-windrunner to steal a huge minion from your opponent.

brawl: Your board reset, your panic button. You need this card to deal with board flooding strategies. Use it when your opponent has a board that cannot be easily cleared. It is necessary to be greedy with this card in certain matchups like shaman i.e. midrange matchups. Use it always if you are getting a full clear. Also of you have a Sylvannas and can steal something good use it. In control matchups brawl is like equality+consecration you use it when you absolutely need to. It is like the trump card late game.

Execute vs Shield Slam: There is a damaged minion on the board you have the choice of either shield slam or execute what do you choose?

Take a look at your hand and recall whats in your deck. If you have execute enablers and your armor value is high use the Shield Slam of you don’t have execute enablers use the execute. If you have a shield block and can get even more value from the Shield Slam use execute. The answer is highly dependent on your hand and whats left in your deck.


  • Always take damage and then armor up. Your armor is more important than your health points. Armor is not affected by alexstrasza and boosts your shield-slams so always value your armor more.
  • Do not use cruel-taskmaster on your own minions without getting a favorable trade. eg. It is amazing to use Cruel taskmaster on your acolyte-of-pain to kill your opponents acolyte-of-pain but it is an awful play to play acolyte of pain and taskmaster it on an empty board especially against shamans because they have easy silence options. because all you do is cycle the taskmaster and are not gaining card advantage.
  • Be greedy with armorsmith and acolyte-of-pain don not play them casually and lose them for no value. Try to gain 3-4+ armor from Armorsmith and at least 2 cards from Acolyte of pain.
  • Try to get maximum value out of your weapons, they posses the ability to generate a lot of card advantage, do not waste them for early face damage, you are playing a control deck not a n aggro deck.
  • As a warrior it is necessary to maintain tempo at all times. If you do not have the tempo you will never be able to play your high cost minions as you will be the defensive player. Clear their minions and maintain pressure through your early game threats.
  • Control warrior is a tempo deck at its core. The weapons and cheap low costed removal allow you to gain a lot of tempo as you get to play more high costed cards while removing your opponents for a low-cost. Play for tempo and board control.
  • Try to stay alive at all times, armor up when you think you might lose if you don’t, play that Armorsmith and Sludge Belcher over the Cairne Bloodhoof if you are in danger of dying. As a warrior you can cheat death by sitting behind a wall of armor.
  • Always remember and count the removal you have used and whats left. You should know the number of Grommash activators, shield blocks and shield slams, execute enablers, taunts and threats you have left. This will help you immensely in the game.


With this I conclude my 2 part guide for Sjow’s Rank 1 Control warrior deck. I hope you enjoyed reading it and have success with the deck. If you have any questions or feedback regarding the deck or this guide feel free to comment below and I will make sure to respond. If you want any more help and want to test the deck, add me DarkFrost#1991 NA and I will guide you through the games.

Until then see ya and Good Luck!